Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin (Lonchura castaneothorax)


French: Capucin donacole German: Braunbrustnonne Spanish: Capuchino pechicastaño
Other common names: Chestnut-breasted Munia

Amadina castaneothorax


, 1837,

New South Wales, Australia


Often hybridizes with L. flaviprymna in NW Australia; in New Guinea sometimes interbreeds with L. caniceps. In captivity has hybridized with 25 estrildid species, mainly other members of genus. Proposed race assimilis, described from Eureka (Northern Territory), in N Australia, is synonymized with nominate. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. c. uropygialis Stresemann & Paludan, 1934 – NW New Guinea (E side of Geelvink Bay).
  • L. c. boschmai Junge, 1952 – W New Guinea (Wissel Lakes and Araboe R E into highlands).
  • L. c. sharpii (Madarász, 1894) – N & NE New Guinea from Humboldt Bay area E, including Manam I, to Astrolabe Bay.
  • L. c. ramsayi Delacour, 1943 – SE New Guinea E from Kumusi R in N and from Bereina area (Gulf of Papua) in S, also D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago (Goodenough I, Normanby I).
  • L. c. castaneothorax (Gould, 1837) – N Western Australia (from Derby and Kimberley) E to Melville I, Gulf of Carpentaria and N Queensland (Cape York Peninsula), thence S along coast to E New South Wales.
  • Introduced (nominate race) in SW & SE Australia (near Perth, in S Western Australia; around Melbourne, in S Victoria), New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Society Is and Marquesas Is.

    Descriptive notes

    11 cm; 12–15·5 g (nominate). Nominate race has forehead to nape brown with grey chevrons, mantle, back to upper rump and upperwing warm brown, lower rump and uppertail-... read more


    Song soft clicks followed by "weeee", a series of "twee, tchuk", and ending with bell-like "tching... read more


    In New Guinea, found in grassland, savanna and old gardens, grassy areas in towns, coastal savanna... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds, mostly of grasses; occasionally green algae, also insects and dried animal faeces. Takes growing seeds directly from seedheads while... read more


    Season Nov–Mar in SE New Guinea; in Australia, Feb–Apr in Kimberley, in late dry season into wet season Feb–Mar (and nest... read more


    In New Guinea, resident with some seasonal or nomadic movements. In Australia, large numbers move... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and locally common in much of range; uncommon to scarce in W New Guinea. In Australia, recorded densities of 0·08-2·96 birds/ha at Howards... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Chestnut-breasted Mannikin (Lonchura castaneothorax). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 January 2020).